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Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

a person looks over a field in dramatic lighting and deals with heroin withdrawal symptoms

When a person tries to stop using heroin after becoming physically addicted to the substance, they experience heroin withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and even life-threatening. The support and care received in a heroin rehab program help relieve withdrawal symptoms and give patients the tools they need to avoid relapse in the future. Call Northpoint Omaha today at 888.687.8014 to learn more about heroin rehab.

What to Expect from Heroin Withdrawal

The experience of withdrawal can be different for each person. Factors that influence withdrawal include the severity of an individual’s heroin addiction, medical history, and general health. People who have gone through detox one or more times may be at a higher risk for more severe withdrawal symptoms.

Physical symptoms typically begin within the first eight to 24 hours after the last dose. The “acute” withdrawal phase can last up to ten days. During this time, physical symptoms peak and begin to diminish, although individuals can continue to experience mild symptoms for several months after detox.

Psychological symptoms refer to people’s cravings even after their body has physically cleared itself of the toxic substance. The desire to use heroin again may last several years but becomes easier to cope with over time.
Patients receiving treatment for heroin addiction may be given medications to help ease the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal. Additional therapies, such as dual-diagnosis treatment and cognitive-behavioral therapy, teach patients the new skills they need to be successful in recovery long term.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Though they typically peak within about a week, the symptoms of heroin withdrawal can be painful and difficult to manage without medical help. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Agitation/irritability
  • Muscle cramps, muscle spasms
  • Depression
  • Anxiety, restlessness
  • Shaking, trembling
  • Impaired respiration
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Hypertension
  • Difficulty feeling pleasure or experiencing “feelings” of any kind
  • Strong drug cravings

The withdrawal itself is not considered life-threatening, but symptoms like rapid heart rate or hypertension could lead to dangerous physical complications, and depression could cause an individual to consider suicide. For these reasons, it is never recommended to stop using heroin suddenly without the assistance of qualified mental and medical health professionals.

The Benefits of Medical Detox for Heroin Addiction

Detox is the first step in any addiction treatment program. Medical detox for those struggling with addiction to heroin offers many potential benefits, including:

  • Improved adherence to treatment programs
  • Lowered risk of relapse and overdose
  • Reduced withdrawal symptoms
  • Opportunities to create a sober community during detox

The more comfortable and mentally present a rehab patient is during detox, the sooner they can begin participating in the therapies to help them maintain sobriety. This comfort can aid in the difficulties of recovery.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Medical Detox?

Many people considering addiction treatment don’t fully understand the detox process or why they should participate in a medical detox program. Going through withdrawal is mentally and physically challenging. Medical detox can help relieve discomfort and make the recovery process more manageable from the very beginning.

Everyone seeking treatment for heroin addiction is a good candidate for medical detox. People who have gone through rehab before and those with co-occurring mental health disorders are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the support provided by medical detox.

Find Help for Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms at Northpoint Omaha

At Northpoint Omaha, we believe every person deserves compassionate, effective care to help them combat addiction. Detoxing from heroin alone can be dangerous and increase relapse risk. If you or someone you care about would benefit from heroin addiction treatment, including medical detox, call Northpoint Omaha at 888.687.8014 today for more information.